Buddhists say 'Life is suffering' but, and I'm just making this up, I suspect you never see a Buddhist in pain because they don't actually see the ebb and flow of life as either positive or negative - just as you never see a tree die when one of its branches falls off, or a herd of deer become depressed when one of them gets picked off by a predator, gun or vehicle.
In other words, like nature, shit happens but it's our reaction to it that causes us suffering, or not.
I was walking to WINZ this morning and thinking about the events of the past week. I've had my faith, commitment to my path and close relationships challenged but, while it's been stressful, I've bounced back not only unscathed but feeling even stronger than before.
This has been a revelation to me.
Even though my living circumstances aren't ideal at the moment, I essentially live in a cocoon where I avoid conflict or external challenges. And even though I'm in pain most days and struggling financially, I'm not getting any further into debt so, really, I'm living the easy life. But that's because that's how I choose to see it. As I've said before, the way my mind worked in the past I probably would have been admitted to a psyche ward by now.
This then lead me on to wondering about a friend of mine who's suffering. They're unhappy with both their professional and private lives and feel unable to do anything about either.
Suddenly I realised how lucky I am!
My friend whose pain is caused by things they're not passionate about, is just digging a one way hole deeper into a cave that's only taking them further away from their self. Whereas my suffering is about things I care passionately about so my pain is merely a tunnel that might get dark for a while but I'm lucky enough to come out the other side where I'm rewarded with the warmth of feeling closer and even more passionate about the things that mean so much to me.
Through leaving my children, a saying came to me that's in Little Peaces - When you do what's right for you, you're doing what's right for everyone around you. As painful as it was for my family when I left them, it was the right thing to do and later, in his own way, my ex-husband thanked me. And this is the pattern I've noticed since - that when you do do the right thing, things get better, never worse. You're rewarded for the courage it takes to make a stand on behalf of your self.
When I was tending my wounds a few nights ago and wondering what to do next, I looked back over the progress I'd made over these past few months, especially the realisation that I was 'finally 100%', and there was no way I could go back on that, on my self. So I did what was right for me and I feel humbled with the even deeper level of strength and support. But the real reward has been seeing for myself the value of embracing the scary and potentially painful places.
I've already learnt that laying solid foundations takes time and patience. But I'm now being shown that building something of value on top of them requires leaning into the risks and maybe the fact that I've been wearing my steel cap boots everywhere these past few months could be seen as a metaphor that I've been in the construction phase for a while now without even knowing it...
Pimp My Attitude
This is where I think out loud as I transform my appearance, thought processes and most of all, attitude - no matter how unpretty.